Largest student housing company builds its brand across hundreds of communities
workdays saved in a year
American Campus Communities (ACC) is the largest developer, owner, and manager of student housing communities in the United States and Canada. In 2015, ACC transformed its brand strategy, aligning the role of its corporate identity and teams with its community brands and student audiences. Once the new strategy was set, the company needed a digital solution that would enable full implementation across all its community brands in university markets across the country.
ACC wanted to empower its local teams to amplify the brand while shaping the resident experience on social channels.
“We had the architecture,” explains Gina Cowart, Senior Vice President, Brand and MarCom Strategy for ACC. “We had the visual standards. We had our brand voice. We had all of the components to build a comprehensive digital and social media strategy, but we didn't have the mechanism to successfully reach the residents.”
ACC community managers were posting natively to social channels, but there was no easy way for them to review their content. They also could not proactively listen to the social conversation to better understand their communities.
Sprinklr allowed us to really come together and build a collaborative and cohesive digital strategy that aligns with our brand.”
Vice President, Property Marketing, American Campus Communities
These enable the company’s geographically-distributed community managers to easily plan, publish, and manage content across Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. The engagement dashboard allows them to collaborate with one another on content and best practices and to see how their content is performing. It also makes it easy for them to promote content supplied by ACC’s brand team for global campaigns, like the mental-health focused Hi, How Are You Project or the environmental initiative “For the Greener Good.”
“We knew we had to meet students where they are,” says Rachel Cox, ACC’s VP of Property Marketing. “As social media became a primary marketing medium and we focus on phasing out many of our traditional efforts, Sprinklr gave us a platform to evolve our brand guidelines for social media with more authentic content and efficiently represent our communities.”
With the dashboard, Content Marketing Strategist Micah Gilbert is able to review content for the communities in his portfolio to ensure it complies with brand guidelines. Gilbert shares a “Top Ten Engagement” report to show how content is performing across ACC’s properties. Community managers can also make generic content that can be uploaded to the Asset Manager tool and shared with all communities.
“Whenever we do that, it is the highlight of the day for that social media pro because they're so pumped that, all across the U.S. and Canada, somebody's going to be seeing their content in a different market,” says Gilbert. “It's, honestly, the best shout-out we could ever give.”
In addition to social content, Gilbert also keeps an eye out for any customer service issues that might be surfaced in incoming messages on property brand social accounts.
“Sprinklr allows us not only to better monitor our social content, but to get a pulse on what's going on at the community level, especially during things like move-in and move-out,” says Gilbert. “It gives us a better understanding of what's going on in all these communities.”
Proactive Social Listening helps ACC to care for its communities
Social Listening and Location Insights from Sprinklr Insights further enables Gilbert and teams at ACC headquarters to keep a finger on the pulse of their communities. Topics and themes are set up for each market, so ACC headquarters can proactively listen to the real-time voices of their community members and glean important, actionable insights. Local news and events are important to stay on top of, as are community health concerns, like COVID.
“Social Listening allows us to be extremely proactive,” says Cowart. As COVID-19 surged in the U.S. and campuses closed, ACC headquarters was immediately alerted to housing concerns in its markets and was able to both push out content to address those concerns as well as identify and reach out to specific individuals who needed help. As such, the company launched its COVID Resident Hardship Program, which provided millions in rent relief to those in need.
Social Advertising increases return on ad spend
ACC also uses Sprinklr’s Sprinklr Marketing product suite, enabling its digital marketing team to easily create and publish ads for its communities on multiple social platforms from one place. The team has leveraged Social Advertising capabilities and features to increase return on ad spend while efficiently executing at scale.
“We did some A/B testing in Sprinklr to see what was working best,” says Gilbert. “The results of that testing have driven what we’ve rolled out across all of our communities.”
ACC now has greater than 96% adoption of the Sprinklr platform across teams. Cox says Sprinklr has enabled enterprise-wide collaboration — connecting multiple teams and its communities onto one unified platform. In addition, AI-powered automations have saved her teams more than 1,000 workdays in the past year.
Cox says Sprinklr has also enabled full execution of ACC’s brand strategy.
“It was really difficult to take our brand strategy and be successful without this digital solution,” she says. “Sprinklr allowed us to really come together and build a collaborative and cohesive digital strategy that aligns with our brand.”